Recruitment Process Outsourcing

RPO Defined

What is RPO?

RPO is an abbreviation for Recruitment Process Outsourcing, a rapidly growing segment of the Human Resources Outsourcing industry (HRO), which in turn is a subset of the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry.

RPO partners become a virtual extension of the client’s Human Resources department. The RPO provider offers high volume, end-to-end recruitment services. The RPO is often involved in the full lifecycle of recruitment, from when the requisition first opens through post-hire activities, ultimately impacting employee retention. To drive interest and attract quality talent, the RPO provider brands all recruitment activities as the client company. An RPO provider takes ownership of the entire recruitment process, generating savings for the client in time, efficiency, and resources.

Why would I use an RPO?

Companies who engage an RPO provider seek to streamline their recruitment process, decrease cycle times and costs, increase candidate quality, improve compliance, and measure results. RPO is particularly suited to companies with ongoing, high volume recruitment needs.

Partnering with leaders within the organization, an RPO provider analyzes the recruitment function from a strategic perspective, recommending and implementing adjustments where necessary. By outsourcing recruitment to an expert source, the company is able to fully focus on strategic, revenue-generating activities. To ensure efficiency and performance, the company’s RPO partner should provide periodic reporting to measure the program’s success.

RPO is best suited for companies requiring scalable recruitment resources or centralization within their recruitment function. An RPO can efficiently provide expanded resources, expertise, best practices, and process consistency—all translating into cost savings and efficiency. By implementing a consistent process across recruitment initiatives, a company can also ensure legal compliance and aid decision-making. With an RPO provider in place, the client may then dedicate resources to strategic business initiatives, rather than administrative or transactional recruitment functions.

Have Questions?

Get answers to frequently asked questions.
RPO FAQ

How is an RPO different from using a staffing firm?

While staffing firms source, qualify, and fill open positions, they do not provide the scope of service that an RPO might, because they typically do not fill a high volume of open positions. Executive search firms, similarly, do not focus on high volume roles. Instead, an executive search partner is better suited to strategic positions at the management level and above.

RPO is particularly suited for high volume recruitment for entry to mid-level roles and companies seeking more predictable hiring costs.

The service provider consults with the client and designs a customized process, before recruitment activities even begin. Recruitment advertising (including online career centers) may be branded as the client company, as opposed to the staffing firm, strengthening the client’s employer value proposition and lending transparency to the recruitment process. This transparency is apparent in all stages of the recruitment process, creating a positive candidate experience.

Outsourcing Positions to an RPO Reduces Fees

As companies outsource a volume of open positions to an RPO, they may also see immediate results through reduced fees and scalable resources. While staffing firms often charge a percentage of the new hire’s estimated annual salary, an RPO bases pricing not only on volume of hires, but especially on increased process efficiencies. Clients may see a significant savings on job board expenses, recruitment fees, among others.

What to look for in an RPO:

Before engaging an RPO provider, consider the following questions:

  • Why is your company hiring? Are positions open due to expansion, turnover, or other factors?
  • How many positions are you looking to fill?
  • What are your current metrics for recruitment success? What are your goals for improvement?
  • Will hiring increase, decrease, or remain the same over the course of the year?
  • Is hiring affected by seasonality?
  • What does your recruitment process currently look like? What are its strengths and weaknesses?
  • What is your timeline for hiring?
  • How are you currently finding talent? What’s working and not working?
  • What are the costs associated with recruitment, including job boards, traditional media advertising, search firms, and special events? What are your soft costs, such as job vacancy, turnover, and training?
  • How does technology integrate with your recruitment process? Can it assist with maintaining legal compliance?
  • How is your company measuring success?

ACA Talent: Your Partner Throughout the Recruitment Process

With your answers to these questions in mind, a well-developed RPO program should address any current hiring weaknesses and bolster current strengths. Your RPO provider should be a partner throughout the entire recruitment process – not just a vendor. As you engage with an RPO provider, your partner should consult on your unique hiring challenges and make recommendations for overall process improvement. Your RPO provider should also have proven implementation and recruitment strategies, integrated technologies, and benchmarks for success.

RPO Case Studies

RPO: Ramping Up Outside Sales


This large sales organization needed to build its outside sales force quickly. With the help of ACA Talent’s RPO solution, they dramatically increased sales headcounts in nine weeks.
Learn More

RPO: Route Sales Recruitment


ACA Talent’s RPO developed an efficient recruiting process for this leading snack food manufacturer to reduce cycle times and fill vacant positions faster.
Learn More

Sales Recruitment Optimization™: Building A Better Sales Team

Building your sales team requires specialized recruiting strategies and an optimized approach. Companies have successfully hired top performing sales people using our Sales Recruitment Optimization (SRO)™ programs, a sales-focused offering from our RPO suite. Learn how SRO can help you drive revenue growth by improving your sales team.

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      — District Sales Manager, Security Firm
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